Idaho’s climate lends itself well to agriculture, of course, and one fast-growing industry is Idaho wine.
The Gem State is now home to 1,300 acres of vineyards as grapes for wine are now being grown, processed, fermented and bottled right here in the Treasure Valley.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, wine country is so far away,’ but no! You can go visit a winery that's 45 minutes away and see where the grapes are grown or go to Telaya winery right downtown,” Idaho Wine Commission executive director Moya Dolsby said.
This Tuesday and Wednesday community leaders close to the business took part in an “industry boot camp” embracing what the valley has to offer.
“We’re tasting reds and whites; we're tasting the difference between oaked chardonnays and unoaked chardonnays and fully fermented and unfermented wines,” Chandler’s Steakhouse server Tina Martinez said. “[The industry] is growing as much as the grapes are growing!”
It’s a growing industry where the leaders say the glass is always half full.
“You can just feel the energy!” Dolsby said. “I mean what day is it? It's a Tuesday morning! And look at how many people are sitting here behind me. That's pretty crazy and impressive.”
The wine business generates $170 million dollars a year into the Idaho economy and experts say that number is only going up.
“Really it starts in the vineyards. You have to have good grapes to make great wine and we have just that,” Dolsby said.
“[Idahoans] consume a lot of wine and I think that's why we're seeing a boost in this industry here. People want to support local, they really do,” Dolsby said. “They see that we're making great wine, that it's local and they can afford it. They're not reaching for that $100 California Cab or that $50 Washington Merlot. They're pulling for that $30 Red Blend from Idaho which is exactly what we want them to be doing.”
To learn more about the Idaho wine industry click here.